2022 Scholarship Recipients
I learned in nursing school a very strong concept: you never stop growing as a nurse. This is an idea that has encouraged me to continuously strive to learn and experience more as I gain knowledge in nursing, and it is a concept I think of every time I think about my future and my career. Over my years of working since graduating with my BSN, I have worked in many different fields of nursing: from a memory-care unit to a post-operative transplant unit, and now working in a multidisciplinary ICU. The concept of “you never stop growing as a nurse” is the one common fact that has remained the same no matter where I have worked. Obtaining my Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing certification would continue to help me grow as a nurse, and in a field that is interesting to me. The WOCN program has challenged me to push past the boundaries of what I thought I knew as a nurse, and I hope to take what I have learned and present it to my colleagues to help them grow as nurses as well.
Ever since a nursing school professor told me she always wanted to be an ostomy nurse, I’ve been intrigued. Then I got to work and met a real live ostomy nurse and saw the way they change people’s lives. It takes a special person with one foot in science and the other in the art of nursing to be a CWOCN. Once I finally started the program at Emory myself this year, it felt like the right fit. At Emory’s Bridge Week this past month, where 20 of us converge in Atlanta for a week of on site learning, I found out just how variable WOC can be — from street nursing to VA to NICU to radiation therapy to where I am now in acute care — it’s a big, wide world. I am actively involved on my Unit Based Practice Committee, the Skin Team, as well as my hospital’s Standards, Policies, and Procedure’s Committee and feel strongly that I can contribute to this field. I look forward to it. I’m an old committee person from way back, and I’d be thrilled to join one in a new to me specialty. Is there a better way to learn about a community than getting right into its politics?
My interest in wound care began my first year as a med/surg nurse. I had a patient with an enterocutaneous fistula and worked closely with the WOC nurse to help figure out how to pouch it. Together we turned the patient’s life around and he was able to discharge home. I completed the WTA and OTA programs and joined my hospital’s skin and wound team. I became the wound resource nurse for my unit, helping to educate other nurses on pressure ulcer prevention, involving proper use of the Braden Scale, selecting the correct surface for patients and the importance of skin evaluation. Each month I complete the pressure ulcer prevalence study for my unit and participate in a meeting with other disciplinaries in the hospital giving feedback and suggestions on new skin care products, nutritional supplements, transitioning to new bed surfaces, and improvements to electronic documentation. I participate in teaching at skills fairs for continuing education for nurses, and have proposed a class to educate CNAs on repositioning and offloading, and caring for patients with moisture related breakdown. I have completed all the course work for my WOC certification through Emory University and am currently completing the clinical hours required to sit for the WOC certification board.
Kristin M. Dingle
As a nurse on a busy medical/surgical unit for over 20 years, I am looking to further my role and specialize in wound and ostomy care for inpatients in an acute care setting. I have been a devoted employee at Beth Israel Lahey Health at Winchester Hospital for 23 years on a 24-bed medical/surgical unit working the night shift full-time. After working through the covid pandemic, I needed to pursue other nursing opportunities and decided to further my education in wound and ostomy care. I was able to consult with the current CWON, who guided me through the educational process for certification.
Currently I am involved in the Wound care Council in my facility and work with a great team of nurses from each unit of the hospital under the direction of the current CWON. We facilitate getting information to other nurses on our units regarding wound and ostomy care in prevention and treatment using our protocols in our institution. Over the past year, hospital acquired pressure injuries have been found during the prevalence studies. With the increase of new hires and novice nurses, our goal is to increase nursing education on head-to-toe skin assessments using the Four Eyes skin assessment approach for all admissions and transfers to all inpatient units. I am currently implementing the education under the supervision of the CWON. Two days per week, we take 2 novice nurses for the day and give 1:1 education on head-to-toe skin assessment, documentation, wound care products, and ostomy care.
I am looking forward to beginning this journey in specializing in wound and ostomy care and becoming a part of the WOCN society. I will be pursuing a position within my current facility as they have supported my goals in becoming a CWON. I want to become a part of this specialized group of nurses to continue providing care with positive outcomes using WOC nursing assessments, prevention and treatment strategies, and provide patient and staff education. I am excited to begin this journey and become a part of the WOCN society.
My love for wound and ostomy care started about 9 years ago as a home care nurse. I was fortunate to work with a few very professional and talented wound/ostomy nurses while gaining more experience with this patient population. This opened my eyes to a specialty that values continuous learning, provides hope in a very vulnerable time for patients, and allows for a creative outlet professionally.
During my nursing career I have had the opportunity to experience a variety of specialties, though wound care has remained an unwavering part of my practice. While I am always learning more, completion of WEB WOC’s full scope program has provided a firm foundational steppingstone into my career as a CWOCN. In a means to pay it forward, I have actively worked towards re-establishing the hospital’s skin champion program in a means to
empower those interested in wound/ostomy care, increase wound/ostomy education, and improve patient care. Moving forward, I hope to participate in the region as a committee member. It is an honor to be a wound, ostomy, continence nurse and I am grateful to have the opportunity.
In life, we tend to overlook the good and focus on the unexpected things that happen in life. Each person has their own goals, lifestyle, and health needs. Being born with bowel disease, treating yourself to a new meal, or being diagnosed with cancer can lead to someone having an unexpected ostomy. There is an increased need for ostomy certified nurses to help our community members cope, manage, and live with the changes that occur in their bodies. Often, people feel that it is a bad thing to have an ostomy. My goal, of becoming an ostomy certified nurse, would be to help decrease those bad feelings and improve the good things in the lives of patients with ostomies. Offering ostomy education, appliance support, supply ordering assistance, nutrition education, and maintaining their independence would be a two-sided improvement for our community. It would improve my value to the community. It would improve the lives of the people in the community. This would help improve the good things and reduce the unexpected things that can happen in life.
Dania Matos Abreu
My goal as a future WOC nurse is to educate, empower and improve quality of care in patients with WOC conditions. As a current surgical nurse, I attend skin rounds in my facility as much as I can to educate myself on ways to prevent WOC conditions. I frequently participate in online CEU’s in order to educate myself. My patients have (new) ostomies, gastrointestinal tubes, acute and chronic wounds/pressure injuries, surgical incisions, drains and various continence statuses. I have seen an ever growing need for education and advocacy for them. Directly after completing my WOC certificate, I look forward to my preceptorship. I plan to strengthen my skills using evidence-based practice and to conduct my own projects. I am passionate about teaching vulnerable and underserved populations because I take pride in being able to assist WOC Spanish speaking patients, as it is one of my native languages. On a long term scope, I would love to obtain an APRN degree in order to take my education, research and patient advocacy as far as I can. I will be able to tend to their care plans in a streamlined manner that will allow for better long-term outcomes.
Diana Phillips Cuypers
In 2018 I became the Program Director of the Emerson Hospital Center for Advanced Wound Care. Previously my only wound experience was as an inpatient staff nurse. As Program Director I began to study wound care. I felt I needed to have the same knowledge as my staff nurses. In the process I reflected my interactions with the Wound Ostomy nurses at BWH, Diane Bryant and Eileen Fleisher. They were so helpful and reliable – I thought ‘that’s a cool job’. They introduced me to the Wound Ostomy specialty.
In 2021, I committed to becoming a CWOCN and began coursework in the WEB WOC self-paced program. The Wound Course work solidified my working knowledge and enhanced my skills. The Ostomy and Continence course work fascinated me because of how impactful nursing care and education can be for patient and families. In addition, my ostomy practicum at MGH energized me in a way that I had not felt since my work in the MICU at BWH.
In June I became CWOCN. I left my position a Program Director of the EWC to pursue a full scope practice. I am currently pursuing positions as a Wound Ostomy inpatient nurse in the Boston Area. My goal is to be the inpatient WOC nurse at a hospital providing patient care, educating staff, and advising leadership on policies and products which prevent injuries and promote healing.
I am so excited to have “come full circle” and obtained the knowledge of CWOCN that I so admired in the Diane Bryant and Eileen Fleischer. My goal is to use this knowledge and the whole of my nursing experiences to support patients and staff as they did for me in the beginning of my nursing career.
I have been a nurse for 20 years and a certified wound ostomy continence nurse for 16 years. I am seeking an advanced degree in effort to be an agent of positive change in either my current role or future role. My goal is to hone skills in leadership and education for the betterment of my patients and community.
I enjoy helping patients and families by advocating for their needs. I won a Nursing Excellence Award in 2007 nominated by a fellow nurse and a Daisy Award nominated by a patient and family. The latter was granted for my advocacy and assistance in getting my complex wound care patient home before Christmas.
Learning more about leadership and advocacy can only strengthen my skill set. Working in acute care I am all too familiar with a fast-paced environment and forever changing needs. I have witnessed staff, management, structural, technological and even unit name changes. What hasn’t changed is my drive to succeed and elevate my practice and improve my working environment. Many years ago, I advocated for more staffing by collecting and presenting data to my supervisor. I asked our EPIC team to build a report so I could better gauge the number of consults and reasons for consults by units. I knew if I advocated for this and took the time to review the data, wound ostomy continence patients, both current and future, would be better served. With an advanced degree, I can learn the proper tools for this process and or one day
be a decision maker.
I also created a proposal for an outpatient ostomy clinic. I collected and saved data on all the phone calls I received from out-patients needing help with their stoma . I saw patients in my office (which was basically a small closet) or one of the manager’s bathrooms across the hall. These patients were desperate and other clinics had a wait time of over 2 weeks. I would promise to clean and take the trash out of the room when I was done (of course ostomy care can be a little odorous). In addition to my patient examples for the new clinic, I also referenced research articles on how important it is to have an ostomy nurse connection and the impact this has on an ostomy patient’s quality of life. As a novice in critiquing research this did not come
easy. This proposal outlined a basic ostomy formulary and staffing needs. The proposal was accepted and ostomy patients are part of our MMC clinic plan which is still running today. With an advanced degree, I would potentially be the decision maker in this scenario and continue to advocate and seek opportunities of improvement. With a masters degree, I would be more proficient in utilizing research.
I have precepted countless wound ostomy continence students and am the chair of a fulfilling pressure injury prevention committee (“skin committee”). One of my responsibilities is to create educational powerpoints for mmc nurses and skin committee members. I enjoy the art of teaching. There is something so gratifying when those that you are teaching find that “aha” moment when everything just clicks or when a discussion point actually prompts the students to engage on a topic. I have recently had the pleasure of onboarding 2 new WOCNs to our team at Maine Medical Center. They were both green WOCNs. Watching them blossom into the role over the last 18 months has played a part in my ongoing interest in getting my masters. An advanced degree could help me learn tools on how best to engage students using technology. I particularly find that this could be useful during this COVID-19 pandemic when most of our meetings and educational opportunities are virtual.
In summary I have strived to be the best version of myself in my current WOCN role. An advanced degree would help me learn the tools to have an even greater impact on a much greater scale. I would use my masters in nursing for the betterment of my facility, community and future students and patients. I look forward to advancing my career path and will continue to celebrate successes, seek opportunities to change and improve and empower our future nurses.